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September 26th, 2006

Guild Hall Celebrates Creativity

by John Wegorzewski and Edward Callaghan

Opening it’s 75th anniversary season with Academy of the Arts Awards Gala honoring Stephen Schwarzman with amazing performances by Chita Rivera

Guild Hall of Easthampton kicked off its 75th Anniversary, Celebrating Creativity, with the 21st Annual Academy of the Arts Gala, March 13 at the Rainbow Room honoring lifelong patron of the Arts, Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO, Chairman and co-founder of The Blackstone Group and Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Roy Furman, President of the Academy of Arts presented the award to Schwarzman.

The Academy also honored the over 70 past award recipients from the last two decades for sustained excellence in the performing, visual and literary arts. Veteran Broadway producer Furman saluted the veritable who’s who in Arts and Letters, many of whom attended including Louis Begley, Dina Merrill, Kurt Vonnegut, Lukas Foss, Tony Walton, Paul Davis, E. L. Doctorow and Budd Schulberg.

Melville “Mickey” Straus, Chairman of the famed cultural institution was excited about the 75th Anniversary festivities which will feature a revival of Robert Wilson’s Persephone, which had its world premiere at the John Drew Theater over a dozen years ago; two major exhibitions, Guild Hall Collects and The Barrymores: Hollywood’s First Family and the 3rd Annual Cabaret Convention featuring stars of stage and screen.

Ruth Appelhof, Guild Hall’s dynamic Executive Director shared additional plans for the Anniversary year, Celebrating Creativity, including the opening of the Hall’s new education center, thanks to a generous gift of the late Joseph Cullman 3rd and the Summer Gala Weekend culminating on August 13 with an outdoor fun-filled community day.

The evening was totally dedicated to celebrating the unique collective of talent that fills the East End and even included some gentle ribbing. Funny lady Angela LaGreca of ABC TV’s The View and one of Guild Hall’s favorite ladies cracked up the audience with her Hamptons’ insider jokes and quips, at one point dubbing Spamalot producer Roy Furman “Sir Cashalot”.

A highlight of the evening was the stunning performance by Chita Rivera who, with Musical Conductor Mark Hummel, wowed the elegant crowd with several showstoppers. The two-time Tony Award winner and Kennedy Center honoree paid a loving tribute to the late Cy Coleman with a heart wrenching rendition of Where Am I Going from Sweet Charity which she had performed at the Johnny Mercer Foundation tribute to Cy in the very same room just days before he passed away last year.

The crowd – filled with Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Pulitzer Prize winners at almost every table -also remembered the passing of former Academy members Wendy Wasserstein, Betty Friedan, and Peter Jennings, who co-founded the Academy twenty one years ago.

Celebrating Creativity in the Art Deco splendor of the Rainbow Room were Chase Mishkin, Christine & Stephen A. Schwarzman, Frieda & Roy Furman, Anka & Louis Begley, Robert & Ina Caro, Leslie & Chuck Close, Helen & E. L. Doctorow, Luly Duke, Lukas & Cornelia Foss, Jane Freilicher, Jack Lenor Larsen, Ninah & Michael Lynne, Ellen & Jim Marcus, Cheryl & Michael Minikes, Jill Krementz & Kurt Vonnegut, Dina Merrill & Ted Hartley, Larry Gagosian, Pam & Edward Pantzer, Susan & Alan Patricof, Jane Wilson & John Gruen, Caroline Hirsch & Andrew Fox, Richard Meier, Henry & Peggy Schleiff, Mercedes Ruehl & David Geiser, Judith Steir & Donald Saddler, Barbara & Alan Slifka, Betsy & Budd Schulberg, Paola & Michael Schulof, Melville Straus, Gen LeRoy & Tony Walton and Kate & Josh Gladstone, Artistic Director of The John Drew Theater.

For more information about Guild Hall’s 75th Anniversary ,Celebrating Creativity, please go to

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | the Hamptons





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